Breakfast meet dessert. Dessert meet breakfast. This decadent tasting, yet still nutritious, way to kick off your day is a celebration of all things chocolate and a perfect excuse to dust off that waffle maker. Consider topping with dollops of thick yogurt and fresh berries. Batter using egg whites is best made shortly before making the waffles, but extras can be chilled for up to one day.
Not all cacao powder is created equal. Your best buy for health benefits is “natural” or “raw” cacao powder over “Dutch processed” (often spelled “cocoa”), which uses alkalization to mellow out the flavour but also damages precious antioxidants.
No buttermilk in the fridge?
A quick fix is to stir 1 Tbsp (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice or distilled white vinegar into each cup of regular milk and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. When it’s ready, milk will be slightly thickened, and you’ll see small curdled bits. You can also mix 3/4 cup (180 mL) plain yogurt or sour cream with 1/4 cup (60 mL) water to thin, then use as you would buttermilk.
No oat flour in the larder?
If you have rolled oats on hand but no oat flour, you’re in luck. You can whiz up oat flour by blending rolled oats in a food processor or high-powered blender until a fine powder forms. A single cup (scooped and levelled) of old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats yields just over 1 cup (250 mL) oat flour.
Heat oven to 200 F (93 C).
In large bowl, whisk flour, cacao powder, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix gently. Let batter rest for 10 minutes to help hydrate the oat flour.
Using electric mixer on medium-high speed or hand-held whisk, beat egg whites in small bowl until soft peaks form. Working in 2 batches, fold egg whites into batter just until combined. Fold in chocolate.
Heat waffle iron until very hot; lightly coat with oil. For each waffle, ladle 1/3 cup (80 mL) batter onto waffle iron and heat until set. Transfer prepared waffles to wire rack set inside baking sheet and place in warm oven while you prepare remaining batter.
Tourtière is, for me, the dish that best represents Québec. It can be traced back to the 1600s, and there’s no master recipe; every family has their own twist. Originally, it was made with game birds or game meat, like rabbit, pheasant, or moose; that’s one of the reasons why I prefer it with venison instead of beef or pork. Variation: If you prefer to make single servings, follow our lead at the restaurant, where we make individual tourtières in the form of a dome (pithivier) and fill them with 5 ounces (160 g) of the ground venison mixture. Variation: You can also use a food processor to make the dough. Place the flour, salt, and butter in the food processor and pulse about ten times, until the butter is incorporated—don’t overmix. It should look like wet sand, and a few little pieces of butter here and there is okay. With the motor running, through the feed tube, slowly add ice water until the dough forms a ball—again don’t overmix. Wrap, chill, and roll out as directed above.
My love of artichokes continues with this classic recipe, one of the best ways to eat this interesting, underrated, and strange vegetable. Frozen artichoke hearts are a time-saving substitute, though the flavour and texture of fresh artichokes are, by far, much superior and definitely preferred.
Cervelle de canut is basically the Boursin of France, an herbed fresh farmer’s cheese spread that’s a speciality of Lyon. The name is kind of weird, as it literally means “silk worker’s brain,” named after nineteenth-century Lyonnaise silk workers, who were called canuts. Sadly, the name reflects the low opinion of the people towards these workers. Happily for us, though, it’s delicious—creamy, fragrant, and fresh at the same time. Cervelle de canut is one of my family’s favourite dishes. It’s a great make-ahead appetizer that you can pop out of the fridge once your guests arrive. Use a full-fat cream cheese for the dish, or it will be too runny and less delicious.